Saturday, 27 September 2014


I love maps. I also love flying - and I'm always delighted, when flying over cities in particular, [Paris, Moscow, New York, London], to look out of the window and see the streets laid out just like a map! It never ceases to intrigue and reassure.

The poem I've written today is based on a vivid memory of flying back from the USA some fifteen years ago [when quotas on night-time landings were in force] and having to hang in the sky over London until the curfew was lifted. For all you music buffs out there, the Weird Summer album I reference is the band’s 1995 masterwork, ‘Incarnata Mysterica’.

Holding Pattern

We bank, turn left once more,
circling the city,
Weird Summer in my headphones,
weary to the core.
We’ve made good time
on this moonlit night,
riding the curve of earth on a jetstream,
Hollywood to Cricklewood,
and I long to be home,
but we’re just too early to arrive.

We swing to the west,
winging over twinkling grids,
familiar patterns of bosky dark and sodium light,
Wembley stadium, Neasden mosque,
there’s Regents Park and London Zoo,
traffic building up at Hangar Lane,
North Circular already like a clogged up vein.

Down Euston Road, past Centrepoint,
we cross the Thames again
by Vauxhall bridge.
This city never sleeps.
Its avenues and streets, circuses and squares,
malls and mews, benighted thoroughfares
are all exactly where they ought to be,
shadowy but pulsing, a living gazeteer.

We round the kidney-shaped pond
in the park near where you live -
it shines like mercury in the dark.
At this turning point,
after six thousand miles of flight
I pass mere feet above your heads,
above the beds in which you sleep and dream
and yet it will be several hours still
until I finally reach home,
treading down the dawn to your door.
We bank, turn left once more…
Thanks for reading. Have a good week, S ;-)
PS. Watch out for our first Sunday guest blogger tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

Love the poem.